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Activities such as turtle releases and community events were somewhat limited due to COVID, but field work moved forward in habitat areas and staff continued work in zones and family units.
In partnership with the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam, ATP staff supported the confiscation, care, and release of hundreds of endangered and critically endangered turtles. Key capacity-building activities in 2020 included the annual turtle conservation course, a community awareness study, and critical training for regional environmental authorities. ATP is promoting key protected areas to safeguard two critically endangered and endemic turtle species in Vietnam.
Hopes were raised for one of these species, the world’s rarest turtle, when what appears to be a second individual was photographed in Dong Mo Lake in Hanoi. We continued our annual support of the Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Field Skills Training Course, now in its 16th year. University students, park rangers, and young biologists from a variety of backgrounds participated in a week of classroom learning, hands-on activities, practical sessions, real-life conservation case studies, and field trips into local villages and nearby forests.
With our support, a formal course manual was published for the first time and not only improves the course for students but serves as an invaluable resource for turtle conservation in Vietnam. Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Mike Selig, although unable to travel to Vietnam this year, continued capacity building work with ATP veterinary and animal care teams via remote correspondence. He also helped organize the process for infectious disease testing and reviewed infectious disease screening results for a number of confiscated turtles, which resulted in these turtles being cleared for release this year.
With our support, a formal course manual was published for the first time and not only improves the course for students but serves as an invaluable resource for turtle conservation in Vietnam.